Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kingdom the Final Frontier

My favorite podcast, The Podge Cast, is ending in a few weeks. In fact, they are recording their final episode this weekend. I have been a fan of Adam,/David, Luke, and Matt since their days on Fear the Boot. The Podge Cast alone will total 200 episodes (plus some extra stuff) and they each have a number of episodes as cast members of Fear the Boot. Without a doubt the community that has formed around the show is my favorite internet community. 

The argument could be made that The Podge Cast is not the greatest RPG podcast in the game. Other shows are more focused, have hosts with more game design experience, or actually talk about gaming. As a counter example I would put forward their series of actual play episodes, "Kingdom the Next Generation". They are not actually actual play I guess, they are more like recaps after the fact, which is a much less annoying way to get actual play information. For my money, this is still the best example of actual play in podcasting, and I say this as someone who enjoys the fantastic Walking Eye show. The series was about their Burning Wheel campaign, and it was not until I listened to this that I actually understood how Burning Wheel was supposed to work. I had read the Burning Wheel books, but it hadn't really clicked and just seemed really cumbersome. There are also valuable lessons for sandbox GMs of any system in Luke's comments.

And Luke tends to be where the real GMing advice is on the show, and he often presents it in a way that might slip by unnoticed if you are not looking for it. He gives some of the best advice on how to run a sandbox game out there, but it is usually presented in anecdotal form, so you have to pay attention. While Paul and Eric probably spend the most time talking about RPGs, the things they say tend to be more of academic interest than practical roleplaying advice. Fun to listen to and think about, but not something I am going to use at the table next week. 

GMs should also listen closely to what Adam has to say, specifically what he complains about. Adam very rarely phrases his complaints as roleplaying advice, but have no doubt that they are exaggerated versions of what your players are probably thinking. 

But The Podge Cast isn't actually about roleplaying advice for me, it is about the community that has its web centered on it. The show has led me to other blogs and shows, and to three great GenCons. I listen to the show for entertainment purposes. But at some point my reason shifted from the fact that it sounded like my friends sitting around talking about gaming, to actually being my friends sitting around talking about gaming. I hope that the community will survive and continue to grow around whatever they do next.

I'll leave you with this. There is an episode (no you have to find it yourself) where Matt discusses an odd diorama hobby. I can still remember exactly where I was walking when I realized what was going on, I can still picture the car that almost killed me because I wasn't paying attention too. Find this episode, it's my favorite